Osvaldo Alonso

Osvaldo Alonso steps up again in Seattle Sounders' win over Vancouver Whitecaps

VANCOUVER — When Brad Evans entered the Seattle Sounders’ 2-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday, he received more than just instruction from interim head coach Brian Schmetzer. As he walked onto the pitch, midfielder Osvaldo Alonso returned the captain’s armband.

Alonso has been donning the captaincy for Evans since Sept. 10, the first of four straight games with Evans on the shelf due to lower back and calf injuries. Evans made his return in the 65th minute and scored the game-winning goal on a penalty kick in the 81st, but it was Alonso who buried the equalizer in the first half, his second in his last three games.

Alonso now has three goals on the season, matching a career high set back in 2011. He’s also likely to reach at least 30 appearances this season for just the fourth time in his career, and his composure and leadership combined with his steady play in the midfield in recent weeks has given the team a sense of calm.

The Sounders went down early on Sunday, but there was no panic from anyone. Alonso made sure of that.

“Big players step up in big moments, and that’s what [Alonso] has done,” said Herculez Gomez. “Ever since he put that captain armband on, he’s transformed…Some guys enjoy that responsibility.

“There are so many times throughout your career where you have the chance to be that guy or have those moments,” Gomez continued, “so there are great players that relish those moments, and he’s one of them.”

Alonso isn’t the only reason the Sounders are 7-1-3 in their last 11 matches and now occupies the fifth spot in the Western Conference standings, but he certainly has as much to do with it anyone. He’s played every minute of that run since he was suspended for the team’s 3-0 loss to Kansas City July 24, the nadir of the club’s summer swoon.

Alonso passing the captain’s armband back to Evans may have been symbolic and a touching gesture of camaraderie between two 2009 Sounders originals, but Alonso said he doesn’t see a difference when he’s the designated captain or not.

He just goes about his business.

“We missed a lot of players, but we’re a team,” Alonso said. “Everybody’s mentality is to try and win the game…We want more.”



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